• Dana L. Butler

Day 2: On Sleep Deprivation and a God Who Sees and Holds

Dear Friends,

On this Day 2 of my 31 Day journey, I’m once more bringing you words written from the passenger seat of our minivan during our road trip to NC for my Grandma’s funeral. In the next few days I will move back toward writing in real time, but since life has taken some unexpected turns in the last week, please accept my heart’s offering to you here as I wrote a little ahead of schedule.

Hi, beloved friends. I’m comin’ at ya this morning from Day 2 of the Butlers’ Epic Road Trip Adventure.

The kids are peaceful in the backseat for the moment, and I find myself wanting to tell you about our hotel experience last night in Evansville, Indiana.

About how we arrived at the hotel around 10:30 at night, how it took us a full hour and a half to get Isaac calmed down and off to dreamland. How 1:30 AM found Maia still fighting an incredibly fierce battle against sleep, despite all our best efforts to help her relax.

Wired. She was straight up wired, y’all.

We finally got her to sleep sometime between 1:30 and 2, set our alarm for 6 AM with a prayer (or several) that all of our immune systems would hold up against the impending sleep deprivation, and *tried* to sleep.

Maia woke up crying several times during the night, and in the interim spaces, Isaac talked in his sleep.

Oh, the adventure of traveling with littles who, like their parents, love routine. We’ve groomed them to be creatures of habit and consistency, because our introverted artist personalities thrive on the breathing room we carve into our family routines. But the occasions when we want to deviate from said routines always prove to be a little more challenging than we bargain for.

We ate a quick breakfast at the hotel this morning and got on the road by 8 AM, which I consider a wild success. Currently, Maia has fallen asleep in her car seat (can I get an amen?!) and Isaac is watching his new-to-us Franklin the Turtle movie for the 4th time since our trip began.

The sun’s in our faces this morning, and midwest plains gradually grow hillier as we head toward the Smokey Mountains.

From the driver’s seat, Stan asks how he can pray for me this morning, and I’m yet again blessed and undone by his tenderness toward me, despite his own exhaustion.

Together, we ask Jesus to fortify our little family’s health, ask that He’ll comfort my extended family and bring peace today in the midst of funeral preparations. That He’ll hold my Grandpa’s heart as he grieves his wife of 71 years.

71 years.

Grandma was 17 when she married Grandpa.

Stan and I chat back and forth while we drive, contemplate the decades Grandma and Grandpa have seen together. I ache for Grandpa, now having to learn to live without his best friend.

Monday morning before I knew we’d be on the road later that day, I listened to Psalm 139 on my audio Bible. I can’t escape that chapter lately, those words. They wrap around my heart with the comfort of how intimately I’m known by the One who created my inmost being, who knit me together inside and out.

Yesterday though, I found myself holding my Grandpa in my heart as those verses played. Father, you know him, inside and out. When he sits, when he rises, his coming and going, and even the needs of his heart that no one else can see — they’re not dark to you.

Every single room of Grandpa’s heart — intimately known by the Father. And not just known, but big in His heart. Precious. Deeply valued.

Same goes for the hearts of my dad and my uncle, who are grieving the loss of their mom.

They are held.

We are all held.

And as we ride on down this road, if I could ask the Father for one thing for you today, my friends, it’d be this: that you’d believe in your gut — beyond a shadow of a doubt — you’re known. Seen through and through. That every need of your heart is deeply important to your Father.

That you’re held.

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